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Instant Analysis: Poile A Finalist For 2011 GM of the Year Award

Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 10:59 AM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Instant Analysis: Poile A Finalist For 2011 GM of the Year Award
- Becomes the first two-time finalist after finishing in the final three for the inaugural award in 2010 -

Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile was recognized by the league today as a finalist for the NHL General Manager of the Year Award. The honor is especially gratifying seeing as it’s voted on by Poile’s peers – awarded by a vote of fellow league General Managers.

“It is a terrific honor, especially because it is awarded by my peers,” Poile said. “It’s something that I always try to appreciate every day; there’s only 30 of these jobs in the whole world, so I know I’m very fortunate to have this job, so I try to do the best I can every day.”

But the recognition is far from surprising and well over-due.

“I believe the success of any organization is dependent totally on the quality of the people in that organization and David Poile has done an absolutely spectacular job for a number of years,” Preds team Chairman Tom Cigarran said. “Our hockey operations are second to none. This year, with the injuries and all the stuff we had going on, what he did to keep young players coming in, finding exactly the right experienced players to join the team, has been truly remarkable. We owe him a debt of gratitude for the team being where it is this year; he and all of our coaches. We think it’s totally appropriate that he be nominated as General Manager of the Year and we’re proud of him and proud of our whole organization.”

The General Manager of the Year Award was added to the league’s post-season honors last season, and Poile was one of the three finalists for that inaugural honor, which ultimately was given to Phoenix’s Don Maloney. Maloney, however, praised Poile’s work, stating that he had include Poile on his ballot, “David Poile always does the most with the least. We all know how dangerous that team always is."

This year Poile again tinkered with the roster; after Dan Hamhuis opted for free agency, Poile filled the hole by acquiring veteran defenseman Shane O’Brien. O’Brien has fit seamlessly into the locker room and has added a physical element on the ice that has made the Preds a difficult match-up for opponents. Sergei Kostitsyn, an addition earlier last summer, has blossomed into a dynamic offensive player.

Nashville went 8-3-3 against the Western Conference’s three division winners, holding a 17-10 points edge in those 14 games.

And then, as the Trade Deadline was approaching, Poile made the bold move to acquire Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators.

“We paid a big price in our first-round pick, to get Mike Fisher, but having said that, it was one of the easiest trades we’ve ever made,” Poile said. “We were totally missing that piece in our hockey club, it stood out like a sore thumb from the second game of the season when Matthew Lombardi went down. I’m not sure we’ve ever made a trade that could fit as perfectly as Mike Fisher did to our team.”

The Preds went 15-8-4 after the Fisher Trade to earn the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, despite a spate of injuries to the team – Goc, Sullivan, Suter all were dinged up within a few weeks of the Fisher trade. Through the first six days of the post-season, Fisher is tied for the NHL lead in playoff scoring with five points in three games, including the game-winning goal in Sunday’s Game Three.

Still, the first-round pick is a heavy investment by a team that prides itself on its draft success. Jon Blum, the team’s 2007 first-round pick, has been a key element to the late-season push. Blum made his NHL debut on February 22 and has been a mainstay in the line-up ever since. Nashville’s 2006 second-round pick, Blake Geoffrion, made his NHL debut four days after Blum (February 26) and has solidified the team’s depth at center.

“There are lots of ways to put together a team – free agency, trades, but for us the path we’ve chosen to build our team primarily is through the draft,” Poile said. “And this year we set a franchise record with 19 of our own draftees on roster; you talk about a home grown team. Even though we’re the fifth youngest team in the league, all our guys have been together for several years coming through the system; they all know each other and I think that’s a great way to build a team.”

Poile, quick spread the recognition to his staff, is also appreciative to work from the ownership group and business operations staff.

“When you talk about a General Manager’s award, it’s a reflection on the success the organization is having. Our owners took a big step this past off-season in hiring Jeff Cogen from Dallas and Sean Henry from Tampa Bay, two guys with a lot of experience, two guys who have won a Stanley Cup in southern markets. The business side of our organization has really improved. A number of those things go in to what people look at when they vote; it’s an individual award, but there’s a team that goes behind this and here it starts with my Hockey Operations staff – Paul Fenton my Assistant General Manager and my whole staff.”





1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33